A few months ago, during the peak of the second wave of Covid, fewer than 50,000 people in the UK were living in areas where there were zero Covid fatalities during the month. However, according to recent reports, this figure has dramatically changed as infections and death rates across the nation have plummeted.
The latest lockdown, coupled with the success of the vaccination drive across the nation, has played a big part in reducing infection rates. By default, this has then led to a drop in hospitalisations and deaths.
Data analysis conducted by BBC News indicates that around 22 million people live in areas with no Covid deaths reported for April. The news has been welcomed by officials and reveals how far the nation has come thanks to adherence to rules and the Covid vaccination rollout.
The data shows there were fewer confirmed cases of Covid in March in areas that reported no Covid deaths in April. In areas where there were reported deaths, the number of positive cases in March stood at just under 240 per 100,000.
In some areas, there have been no reported Covid deaths for an even longer period. This includes Plymouth, which stands at 57 days, and both Maidstone and Oxford, where no Covid deaths have been reported in 60 days.
Among the areas that had the highest death rates are Mid and East Antrim, Bradford, Sedgemoor, and Antrim and Newtownabbey.
Number of reported deaths has plummeted
The number of reported Covid deaths has plummeted over recent weeks, which is why around one-third of the country now lives in an area with no reported deaths from Covid for April. In total, there were just 600 deaths reported within 28 days of a positive test in April compared to over 30,000 in January.
Public Health England also released a report showing just 6.3 people in 100,000 within the most vulnerable over-80s age group got the virus in the week ending 25th April. In mid-January, this figure stood at 623 per 100,000, reflecting the enormous difference in infection rates for seniors.
Dr Mike Tildesley, an expert in the spread of infectious diseases, said, "This is really good news. It's a really good sign and we've seen several parts of the country where prevalence is really, really low. So, I think it gives us confidence."
He did, however, add that people still needed to be cautious and avoid becoming complacent, as things could change very quickly with the Covid situation.
One step closer to normality
According to some experts, the data means the nation has taken another step closer to returning to normality by the summer. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to be told that social distancing is no longer necessary at large outdoor events from 21st June, so this summer could see large crowds gathering for various events outdoors.
It has also been revealed that the government has arranged a live indoor music event at Circus Nightclub in Liverpool for later this year. This will be attended by several thousand people without face coverings or social distancing.
Officials hope it will give them a better idea about transmission risks and the effectiveness of the vaccine programme. It will also enable them to determine what the impact of a full lifting of restrictions will be. The event has been arranged under the government’s Events Research Programme (ERP).